Letters from five former presidents to Tony Bennett are going up for auction

Personal notes from five former presidents to Tony Bennett are up for sale in an auction of some of the late singer’s memorabilia.

The collection from Julien’s Auctions includes some of the “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” crooner’s original paintings and sketches, signed sheet music from Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga, along with a letter of appreciation from Martin Luther King Jr. to Bennett following his participation in the 1965 Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

Bennett died last year at 96.

One of the items also on the auction block is a “never before seen” book of letters given to Bennett to mark his 75th birthday in 2001.

“Hillary and I are grateful for the blessing of your friendship,” former President Clinton wrote to Bennett in one of the notes included in the book, estimated to fetch at least $8,000.

“There are many perks and privileges I enjoyed as President — not least among them was the opportunity to hear you perform on many unforgettable occasions,” Clinton wrote.

In another 2001 message to Bennett, former President George H.W. Bush wrote, “I turned 77 in June. Yes, it’s hard to believe, I know, because, you see, you and I are much too young to be this old.”

Bush died in 2018 at 94.

Former President Trump, in a note penned 15 years before he won the White House in 2016, wrote, “You are and always will be one of the great voices of the world.”

“To have you serve as the Musical Artist in Residence at Mar-a-Lago is a particular source of pride for me,” said Trump, calling Bennett “ageless and timeless.”

The book also includes letters to Bennett from former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, according to Julien’s Auctions.

The two-day auction, dubbed “Tony Bennett: A Life Well-Lived,” is poised to be held April 18 and 19 at Lincoln Center in New York City. The auction items will also be on exhibit April 8-10 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and at Lincoln Center from April 10-16.

Danny Bennett, the performer’s son and longtime manager, said in a statement about the auction, “It is astonishing to have the opportunity to view all these items in a collection such as this, which represent Tony’s remarkable life, but also embody a part of our shared American history.”

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